Christians and Muslims in India vexed that government is seeking to revise history with pro-Hindu narrative
Christian and Muslim leaders in India are worried and appalled at what they see as moves by India's federal government to "revise" the country's history to push a pro-Hindu narrative.
And Christians have reported over recent years a surge in anti-Christian attacks following the election of Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist government through the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in 2014.
It has been nearly a decade since the 2008 campaign of violence against Christians in Kandhamal, India displaced 60,000 Indian Christians.
More than 300 churches and places of worship were destroyed and 6,000 Christian families attacked.
While this stands out as a horrific event in Christian history in India, a report from the Evangelical Fellowship of India is now calling 2017 one of the most traumatic years for India's Christian community since Kandhamal, Mission Network News reported March 19.
It cited once recent account from Morning Star News tells the story of Hindu extremists who attacked a group of elderly Christians in Telangana and burned their Bibles.
Open Doors, whihc monitors peresecution of Christians is launching a social media campaign against plans by Hindu groups in India to "cleanse the nation" of Christianity within three years, BosNewsLife Asia Service reported March 19,
BosNews said the announcement by Open Doors, which monitors persecution of Christians comes as church attacks by extremists linked to groups such as Dharm Jagran Samiti, which wants India to become an exclusively Hindu nation, or 'Hindu Rashtra,' by 2021.
CHRISTIANS FACING ASSAULTS
"Unfortunately," when Christians are facing assaults, "they often receive little or no protection from government officials who themselves ascribe to Hinduism," Open Doors explained in a statement obtained by BosNewsLife.
"As victims suffer, the lack of community response piles on another layer of persecution. In addition to the physical violence, they are made to feel isolated, excluded, and alone," Open Doors said.
The aim of Modi's BJP and affiliated Hindu groups is "ultimately to shape the national identity to match their religious views, that India is a nation of and for Hindus," reported Reuters news agency on March 6.
The comes amid accusations of the government ignoring "burning issues" of the country, said Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas, secretary-general of the Indian Roman Catholic bishops' conference.
"There is large-scale poverty in the country, coupled with marginalization and alienation of the farmers and village poor," Bishop Mascarenhas told ucanews.com.
"Instead of trying to rewrite history, the government should first deal with the issues troubling the common masses."
Catholic lay leader A.C. Michael said the effort to revise or rewrite history was part of an agenda to bury Christian contributions to India's development and to demonize Muslims as invaders who inflicted violence upon Hindus.
India has a population of some 1.3 billion people of whom almost and 80 percent of the people are Hindus and 14.2 percent are Muslims. Open Doors says there are some 64 million Christians.
It says that the source of persecution for Christians in India depends on their location within the country, but most of it comes from a variety of Hindu radical groups and organizations, including the BJP, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Shiv Sena and Vishya Hindu Parishad (VHP).
Open Doors says that Hindu radicals also dominate the central government in New Delhi.
In Muslim-majority areas, Christians experience persecution at the hands of the Muslim majority. In the poorer regions of the country (Bihar, Jharkand and Chhattisgarh), the Naxalite movement (Maoist rebels) also persecutes Christians says Open Doors.